Henley & Partners has released its January 2021 ranking of the world's most powerful passports and Canada's ranked among the strongest.
Each quarter, the Henley Passport Index presents its ranking of passports according to the number of countries their holders can enter without the bother of applying for a visa in advance. The renowned London-based consultancy, which helps governments develop citizenship-by-investment programs, bases the ranking on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and additional in-house research.
Japan continues to hold the world's most powerful passport, offering Visa-free access to 191 destinations worldwide. Singapore comes second, with access to 190 destinations, while South Korean and German passport holders enjoy access to 189 destinations around the world.
Italy, Finland Spain, and Luxembourg share the number four spot, enjoying visa-free access to 188 destinations. Following them, a passport from Denmark or Austria grants access to 187 destinations.
Further down the list, Canada has the ninth most powerful passport worldwide, allowing holders access to 183 destinations.
Mandatory vaccinations and COVID-19 considerations
Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of leading residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, says that the latest ranking provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary upheaval that characterized 2020. “Just a year ago all indications were that the rates of global mobility would continue to rise, that travel freedom would increase, and that holders of powerful passports would enjoy more access than ever before. The global lockdown negated these glowing projections, and as restrictions begin to lift, the results from the latest index are a reminder of what passport power really means in a world upended by the pandemic.”
With the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine approved just over a month ago, airline industry experts believe that mandatory vaccination before air travel may soon be a necessity. A technological innovation scheduled to launch in Q1 2021 that will contribute to restoring global mobility is IATA’s Travel Pass initiative — a mobile application that enables travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines, explains a release from the company.
Canada's passport ranks among world's 'biggest losers' in 2021
While Henley & Partners included Canada in its top 10 most powerful passports, another recent ranking by Arton Capital suggests the Canuck passport has lost a significant amount of its mobility due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it ranked it among the world's "biggest losers" in terms of how much mobility it lost during 2020.
Arton Capital's report authors noted that "When a country bans all or most foreign travellers – as did South Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, Macao, mainland China, Japan, Taiwan, Bhutan and others – it is likely their citizens will also see a reduction in visa-free travel in response."
Additionally, the ranking noted that countries that have exceptionally high daily rates of infection or deaths – or that have not managed the pandemic well in general – have been hit particularly hard by travel restriction